Handle Vaccines with Care to Improve Herd Health

ISU Extension and Outreach publication discusses the importance of safe vaccine handling


cow grazing in pastureAMES, Iowa – A strong vaccination program can have sizable impact on a cattle herd. Not only can vaccines improve the herd’s health, vaccines also can provide monetary savings for a rancher.

Because of the importance of a vaccination program, it is critical to handle vaccines properly. There are three time periods when proper vaccine handling is crucial: during transportation, on-farm storage and during use.

A new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled “Vaccines: Handle with Care” (IBC 126) walks readers through procedures that can help keep vaccines safe while waiting to be used.

“Vaccines are a vital part of a herd health program,” said Grant Dewell, associate professor in beef production and extension beef veterinarian at Iowa State University. “However, improper handling of the vaccine can leave animals vulnerable to infectious diseases. Proper care and handling of vaccines is necessary to maximize an animal health program.”

The publication provides in-depth discussions on how to transport a vaccine once it is purchased, how to store it on-farm and how it should be used. It also talks about using vaccines in cold weather and the importance of sanitizing syringes.

A final section of the publication provides step-by-step instructions for building a syringe cooler to keep vaccines cool while in use. This design allows for the storage of vaccine bottles while keeping them at the proper temperature and protected from UV light.